While regulatory authorities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have publicly declared the herbicide glyphosate – you probably call it Roundup – non-carcinogenic, the state of California does not agree and announced this week that the substance will be added to its sometimes controversial Proposition 65 list of agents that can possibly cause cancer and thus must be labeled as such.
And while Monsanto has a year to change the label to include the warning – or change the Roundup formula – attorneys say the decision could cost the food industry
Kent Schmidt, a partner at the California office of international law firm Dorsey & Whitney who specializes in consumer class actions, product liability, commercial disputes and Prop 65 claims told SPW this week, “The addition of glyphostate to the list of chemicals requiring a warning label under California’s Prop 65 will surely result in a great deal of new litigation for sellers and distributors of food. There is a narrow window of opportunity for companies to take proactive measures to address these litigation and regulatory risks. There are a number of legal challenges pending in California courts as well as grace period of one year between the date of the listing and the date a sale of a food product can create a Prop 65 liability. Sellers of food products that have even a trace amount of glyphostate should consider these issues now. While there are many unanswered questions, there is little doubt that the plaintiff’s bar is already gearing up for this change in the law and will be asserting claims at the earliest possible point in time.”
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans.
Monsanto dissents and the company has sued to stop the listing on the Prop 65 rolls. But the California Supreme Court rejected the company’s appeal for a stay last week clearing the path for this week’s action.
More than 800 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients are suing Monsanto, claiming Roundup gave them cancer.
Monsanto said more than 800 studies have demonstrated glyphosate’s safety.